Study: Car accidents cost the Illinois economy nearly $4 billion a year

A new study suggests vehicle crashes costs the Illinois economy $3.8 billion a year.

The Illinois Department of Transportation reported more than 324,000 crashes on Illinois roads resulting in 66,703 injuries in 2016. Illinois Economic Policy Institute transportation analyst Mary Craighead used a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cost model to arrive at the $3.8 billion figure, after medical costs, emergency services, workplace absences and other factors are calculated.

“The overall cost data on Illinois car crashes mirrors what we have seen in prior examinations of bridges, rail systems, and other vital infrastructure,” said Craighead.  “Road safety incidents ripple out to produce much broader effects on the economy, and the challenge is to minimize those events.”

Craighead said that while increased seat belt usage and improved vehicle designs have contributed to a decline in fatal vehicle crashes since 2007, fatalities have spiked nearly 17 percent between 2014 and 2016.

Craighead argued that improving roadway design, pavement, signage, and lighting could help reduce roadway deaths.

Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

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